Act now, before it’s too late: Bushfire Royal Commission Terms of Reference

21 February 2020

The Institute of Foresters Australia and Australian Forest Growers has welcomed the Terms of Reference of the Royal Commission into Bushfires as signed off on by the Governor-General today but says action must be taken sooner rather than later to ensure the nation is better placed to withstand future challenges of a changing climate.

Kevin Tolhurst and Gary Morgan of the Institute of Foresters Australia and Australian Forest Growers said the organisation was delighted to see hazard reduction measures and traditional land and fire management practices of Indigenous Australians specifically cited in the Terms of the Commission.

“The Institute of Foresters Australia and Australian Forest Growers have long advocated for common national standards and reporting in terms of hazard reduction measures and it is encouraging to see prescribed Government action on this front,” Mr Tolhurst and Morgan said.

“Fire as a management tool of the landscape has been used since ancient times in Australia and the Institute of Foresters Australia and Australian Forest Growers are strong supporters of the need for policy to better understand and incorporate the learning and knowledge of Indigenous Australians, who have looked after this land for millennia.

“But the reality is that we need to act now to ensure the devastating loss of life, property, flora and fauna experienced across Australia over the past months does not become the norm.

“Countless inquiries have taken place before and we are still where we are now – looking back at a devastating bushfire season which was unprecedented, but not unforeseen.

“We encourage governments not to wait to act on the recommendations of this Royal Commission, but to start acting on the recommendations of previous commissions and inquiries, Mr Tolhurst and Morgan said.

The pair also noted that for Australia to respond to the key findings and recommendations from this Royal Commission, if the findings of past commissions and inquiries was anything to go by, there is a gap in the necessary skills and knowledge to deal with the solutions.

“This skills gap of appropriately trained and resourced forest and land management experts will need to be addressed along with proper resourcing of organisations involved in land management if we are to ensure we are best prepared for the challenges of future bushfire threat in Australia.


To arrange an interview with either Kevin Tolhurst or Gary Morgan on behalf of the Institute of Foresters, Australia please contact us.

Media contact:
Becher Townshend
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